Free 3D model downloads from the CAD cube

Content is King, so why waste time building up your library when you can download it for free?

TheCADcube is the latest of many web sites dedicated to providing you with 3D models to help you build up your library. CAD Cube is aimed at the Architectural industry, but interestingly there is no mention of BIM in sight…

‘BIM may well be the future for the construction industry, and the demand for BIM is steadily growing, but CAD users are going to be in the majority for the foreseeable future.’

In this post I’m talking to Darren Lester, 26 year old Architectural technologist, resident Entrepreneur at Edinburgh University and founder of the CAD Cube.

The CAD Cube – the skinny…

The CAD Cube service is aimed at both manufactures and Architects. The idea is that Building product manufacturers sign up to the service, providing their models for free or paying a small fee for CAD cube to model them up.

The manufacturer gets statistics on who is downloading their content, and the hope that it is more likely that their product will be specified. Architects get to download 3D CAD models for free.

The site is well laid out and easy to navigate. While I don’t necessarily agree with Darren’s views on BIM, I understand that there are a great many CAD users out there who need content. Want to know how the CAD cube stacks up with the competition? Check out the CAD Olympics.

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Q: What inspired you to create The CAD Cube?

I used to find the CAD modeling process extremely frustrating in terms of timescale and felt that other CAD libraries available were either too expensive or had no quality control. I wanted to come up with a way to provide designers with free, quality content, but in a way that was sustainable from a business perspective. This led me to manufacturer specific content and the realisation that a lot of manufacturers have CAD models of their products available but aren’t doing much with them, and that they are actually a very powerful promotional tool.

Q: How many models does CAD Cube host?

We have just over 400, so we are still small but we are growing.

Q: What file formats are the models available in?

We accept .DWG, .MAX, .3DS, .SKP and .OBJ and encourage manufacturers to provide at least a couple of these for each model.

Q: The CAD Cube is membership only, how much does this cost?

theCADcube is currently free for designers who wish to download CAD models. This has a limit of 20 downloads per day and each model can only be downloaded twice. We plan to keep it this way with perhaps introducing a premium, unlimited downloads account when we have a large enough library.

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Q: Do you have any plans to host BIM compatible content?

I think we need to be either CAD or BIM. Once you start trying to be a solution for everyone’s problems, you start diluting your value proposition and end up being OK for everyone rather than great for a specific area, which for us is CAD. Perhaps one day we will launch ‘theBIMcube’ as a spin-off!

I think BIM is fantastic, but I just can’t see it getting anywhere near wide-scale adoption in the foreseeable future.


Darren has recently announced a new service, combining the 3D CAD models, with all the specification information an Architect could need. You can find out more at


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